August 29, 2018 2:54 pm

The Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Gifty Twum-Ampofo, has indicated the government’s resolve to ensure that every child in Ghana gains access to education, irrespective of their circumstances.

“In providing education for our children, our schools should be child-friendly and disability-friendly to ensure that learning environments are welcoming, gender-sensitive, healthy, safe and protective. Children should go to school in an environment which does not affect their health and well-being negatively,” she said.

“As a country, we want to emphasize the need for a child-friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children. This is because, in the 2012 Millennium Development Goals report, it was indicated that Sub-Saharan Africa still has the highest number of out-of-school children, many of whom are with some degree of disability. This, therefore, calls for accelerated action in ensuring that the Ghanaian child is given the opportunity to access quality and friendly education,” she added.

The Honourable Deputy Minister made the remarks at a workshop held in Accra to dialogue with stakeholders on the ‘Implications of the Inclusive Education Policy for Children with Disability (IIEPCWD).’ The event formed part of activities outlined towards the celebration of the 2018 National Children’s Day. It was organised by the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection with support from UNICEF Ghana and the Canadian Government.

Under the chosen theme “Leave no Child behind for Africa’s Development; The Rights of Children with Disabilities”, this year celebration seeks to focus on a dialogue on the rights, capabilities and potential of children with disabilities. Thus, the dialogue offered stakeholders, partners and children the opportunity to discuss and access the level of implementation and compliance of the Disability Act and also make proposals for the enforcement of other related legislations, policies especially the Inclusive Education for children with disability.

Hon. Gifty-Twum Ampofo noted that Inclusive Education was crucial in addressing the plight of children with disability which includes addressing the different needs that children have as a result of impairment.

The Sector Deputy Minister further bemoaned the lumping of children with disabilities in ‘special’ educational institutions.

“As a country, the rights of children with disabilities to access quality education are recognised; however, the situation on the ground shows that children with disabilities remain the most excluded from accessing education and its benefits. … It is rather unfortunate that in most countries, including Ghana, education for children with disabilities has created separate schools called ‘Special Schools’.”

Hon. Gifty Twum noted that Government, through the various legislations, policies and programmes, is leading the process of inclusiveness by making sure that there is a peaceful and an enabling environment for all children to enjoy their rights.

The Acting Director for the department of Children, Mrs. Florence Ayisi Quartey also disclosed that the department will carry a health screening exercise for children in Takoradi, and climax the whole National Children’s Day celebration with a durbar in their honour on Friday 31st August 2018.

The dialogue brought together, representatives from various social groups and NGOs such as the Ghana Blind Union, Shared Care Ghana, and Inclusion Ghana.